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Thanks for all the replies for my other thread. Man, you guys/girls are good in knowing what you drive! I'm impressed already! OK, here's my next decisions.........SL vs SE for $ 950. Is it worth? The only advantage for me is the sports suspensions (how is this different from SL?).
2WD vs AWD...........2 questions: is AWD same as 4 x4?
I live in Texas and I do camping but the places I've been to do not need 4 X 4...........is the extra $ 1,600 worth for me?
I know it's a lot of question. I will get the best answers from you owners and not from a sales guy. Thanks for your help. And also if you have any of the packages ($4000 for SE etc) I will appreciate it if you comment why you bought them (vs without it).
 

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AWD is *not* 4-wheel drive. I'd do some searching here on that subject, there's a lot of info.

SL vs. SE same, I'd do a search. Driving a van most of the time then jumping into a SL it seemed darn firm for me. The SE was too firm plus I didn't want to pay anymore as I got all options.
 

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I got an SE 2WD.

The reason for the SE: BI-Xenon headlights and suspension.
It is really nice to have the Xenon headlights when you out on a dark deserted road. It is a huge diffrence in illumination. I feel more safe when it comes to hitting animals and such. Not to mention the col-factor...

2WD: I got 2WD since I live in Arizona and really don't need 4WD for slippery roads, and I didn't want to sacrifice fuel economy for increased traction I would hardly ever need. There is one draw back. When it is a bit slippery its really hard to get traction, and spins the tires easily on quick accelleration. But if you want to stun people, floor it at a light. Squeeling across teh intersection gets thier attention. However, the adaptive tranny will only do it if you have trained it to think that you are an agressive driver...
 

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SE vs. SL

SE has sport suspension, so it's a slightly rougher/louder ride, but handles cornering significantly better.

SE also has the "manual mode" (2004) which allows you to manually shift between 6 different gear ratios as if you were in a manual transmission (optional, normally you would just use "Drive"). The SL instead has three different drive modes (normal, Sport, and Low) which essentially modifies where it tries to keep the RPMs.

So how big is the difference? Not much. I was originally looking at the SE for both the reasons (want the handling, like the "tiptronic" style shifting). However, after comparing both of them (and renting an SL for a weekend, which I highly recommend) I have decided that I like the functionality of the sport/low "gears" better. The SE does handle better, however I think the SL still handles exceptionally well for an SUV (yes, I consider it to be an SUV, not a cross-over) and I get a smoother ride in addition.

Oh, one more differnce is that the SE comes with HID headlights, while the SL doesn't (unless you get the touring package).

~ Corin
 

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SE vs SL - I picked the SE. Unlike magazine reviews, I don't find the ride harsh at all. More like firm and well-planted. Of course, I came off a sports car, so it actually seems like a quieter, smoother ride. I didn't like the RX300 my sister drives because it was too cushy - kind of like the big Cadillacs my mom used to have. Other things that sold me on the SE were the Xenon lamps and the tiptronic (man, I miss a manual with clutch!).

AWD vs 2WD - I picked the AWD, because we do get snow in the Mid-A. Its NOT for off-roading, more for inclement weather driving. If you live in an area of the country that doesn't see snow typically, don't bother. BTW - the AWD only works up to 19 mph and only if either locked or slippage is detected. After that its FWD - same as the 2WD.
 

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I bought a 2003 SE AWD (I live in Wisconsin) with all the options.

If your coming from a Z, I think you might be happier with the SE version. This is my first SUV and I'd been driving Maxima SE's for quite a few years.

IMO, the SE is the perfect compromise in gaining vehicle flexibility (towing capacity too) vs the Maxima's fun to drive but with less flexibility.

Now I can choose between the 00 Maxima SE or the 03 Murano SE (both loaded with all the options) daily and I find myself choosing the Mo if I'm going anywhere beyond a short drive (<20 miles).

It's just way more comfortable, spacious, and flexible and is the ultimate Road Trip Vehicle (<$35k price range).
 

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Cryogenix said:


With the AWD SE, the steering wheel doesn't pull at my hands at all, and it overall feels more balanced and surefooted. There are a few places where MO feels like she's gonna snap in half due to the tight suspension, but mostly the ride is smooth.

As well pointed out above, the AWD system in the MO is only active at low speeds, and only if the computer detects front wheel slippage. It is designed with a single purpose in mind: To get you moving from a standstill when traction is lacking. For that reason, I am having trouble understanding the comment above. Unless the front wheels are losing traction, the AWD should have as much torque steer as the FWD. Possibly, the more aggressively damped shocks of the SE transmit that torque steer to the steering wheel... just like they transmit better road feel to the wheel?

Keep in mind that a FWD with VDC will keep those front wheels from spinning by braking them as needed. So, if you live in a place where you are driving on mostly dry roads most of the time, FWD with VDC is all you need.

I love the HIDs, but I admit that they're 95%
and 5% function.
 

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This is correct.. If you get the VDC its always on unless you turn it off. I have never spun my wheels or had torque steer problems because the system corrects for that. It has also saved me from taking a turn I entered way to fast by mistake. The AWD I used in only less than 1% of my driving expireince. I think the VDC is more valuable then the AWD.
 

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----------j---- said:
I think the VDC is more valuable then the AWD.
Yet for some stupid bogus reason, you can ONLY get the VDC package if you get the touring package. This is one of my biggest complaints. Options like traction/stability control and TPMS should be either standard or options that can be applied to even a base model.

grrrrr. gripe. grumble.

~ Corin
 

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There seems to be some misconceptions on this thread about the AWD function; that AWD doesn't work above 19mph. This is incorrect. AWD can be "locked " in a 50/50 torque split up to 19mph; after that , it functions only if the front wheels slip. If you are going 60mph and,say,hit ice and the front wheels slip, power will be applied up to 50% to the rear wheels. Those that are interested in learning more about the AWD, do a search. There are a number of very informative posts on this subject.
 

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I want both VDC and AWD, but if I had to pick only one, I'd go with the AWD. It's been useful often, whereas the VDC is an occasional help. And it's certainly a lot better than the old Traction Control, which would drive me crazy by cutting the engine power, when I was purposely pushing the traction to the edge in bad weather.

I was thankful for the off switch then!

The VDC could potentially save your life in a bad situation. That's worth a lot right there and ranks up there with ABS and air bags.
 

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I have SL FWD. Live in South so I do not really need AWD. SL was a good compromise between handling and nice drive. Wanted VDC but would have to wait several weeks.......I am to inpatient for that.......no regret so far...........though in retrospect I would go for SE now after driving FX…….so tight………..nice handling……….just as I remember Murano SE…………water under the bridge…………
 
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